Bad Birthday Present
I had lived in Darwin from March 1969 to December 1970. My baby's father was killed in a car accident on the 21st December 1970. I was 22 years old and I returned to Brisbane, but I had fallen in love with Darwin and wanted to return there.
I eventually got back there in October 1974.My daughter was now 4 yrs old and we lived in a townhouse at Nightcliff. It had been raining for 2 weeks before Tracy struck. On the morning of that fateful day I went to the hairdressers and had my hair done as I was flying out on Christmas eve to visit my parents as it was my birthday.
That night I had put my daughter to bed but she was not going to go to sleep. It was getting noisier and she was a little scared. We looked out the glass windows in her bedroom about 11pm and saw the roof of the duplex next door being ripped off.We could feel the window bowing in from the force of the wind and fearing it would break we went downstairs and sat on the floor under a shelf under the stairs.
The wind howled and roared for the next 6 hours like a thousand jets flying over. My ears almost burst with the pressure and each time the wind died a little the walls whistled through cracks as the pressure eased. During the eye of the cyclone we tried to see out our windows we could hear someone calling for help from the house next door and felt so useless and guilty that we couldn't help them.
We saw a police car pull up and I guess they helped them cause we found out later that some children had been separated from their parents but they were ok.
Then the wind came back from the opposite direction and we got back under the stairs. We lost our roof and the bottom of a boat ended up upside down on my bed. My daughters bed was sucked out through metal louvers and her door was blown the opposite way to what it should have been. Our fridge door was blown off the fridge, I sat in about a foot of water all night with my daughter in my lap and a mattress wrapped around us.
When daylight finally came we could see all the mess in the lounge room but the Christmas tree stood untouched on the coffee table in the center of the room. We went outside like scared rabbits afraid of what we would see. There was someone's shed over my car and you could not tell where the road was it all looked like one huge dump. I cut my foot jumping over downed power lines.
Later that night after making my way around Darwin to check on my friends through the day I made my way to my Aunty in Katherine and was evacuated from there 4 days later on the jet belonging to the big boss of BHP.
But I returned to Darwin again in 1976 and worked for the Government there for the next 25 years until I retired. I am now back in Brisbane